The Israel Situation Explained December 31, 2008

The Israel Situation Explained

This isn’t really atheist-related.

A couple nights ago, Rachel Maddow was discussing the Israel/Hamas situation on her show. She opened with a brief overview of what the fighting is all about.

I thought it was easy-to-follow and really informative. Is it simplified? Absolutely. But in five minutes, not bad at all.

So for anyone who reads headlines with the words “Middle East,” “Hamas,” “Fatah,” “Israel,” “Palestinian,” and then skips to another story because you have no idea what’s going on, check this out:

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  • Tao Jones

    Definitely not the most complete overview out there but far better than anything you’d ever see on Fox News.

    Kind of made it sound like Israel was created out of nothing. Nor was there mention of Arabs being forcibly removed from their homes or that Israel continues to refuse their right of return.

    No mention that Israel is in violation of more UN and UN Security Council resolutions than any other country by a fairly wide margin.

    Not sure when that show originally aired but there was no mention of the attack on the aid ship Destiny in international waters. Then again there was no mention of the attack on the USS Liberty either.

    No mention of the November 5th raid into Gaza killing six Hamas officials. Oh, the truce was in effect at the time too.

  • Mark

    I see that all the liberal news networks ignored the war waged against Israel with hundreds of rockets killing 9 jews just this year but when Israel decides to fight back the pointy headed liberal media now decides that there is a crisis.

    Let’s face it. The liberals of the world don’t care about killing jews any more than hitler did.

    Oh, and what that con man Tao Jones tells you above cleverly leaves out the fact that the UN won’t pass any resolutions against Hamas because Hamas is not a country.

    The lies never stop. Tao Jones, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Justin jm

    I see that all the liberal news networks ignored the war waged against Israel with hundreds of rockets killing 9 jews just this year but when Israel decides to fight back the pointy headed liberal media now decides that there is a crisis.

    Let’s face it. The liberals of the world don’t care about killing jews any more than hitler did.

    Get a clue. The “liberals of the world” such as myself care when Jewish people are killed just as much as when anybody else is being killed.

    I imagine that “the media” focused on Israel’s retaliation because the escalation of hostilities makes news, more so than the near-constant attacks on Israel (because we’ve gotten used to attacks on Israel).

    As for Hitler and liberals? Hitler hated liberals. All fascists do.

  • Tao Jones

    Surrrre Mark. Actually, I don’t even know where to start. You managed to bring up Hitler, along with a few clumsy and baseless ad hominem attacks, all while not saying anything substantive at all.

    Where, exactly, did I lie? Do you have any proof or evidence? I’m a con man too, eh? I suppose I work for some gigantic Arab lobby group that manipulates the news like AIPAC or JINSAoh wait.

    I suppose I’m also antisemetic since it is very obviously racism to be critical of the government of Israel. Doesn’t matter that I’ve supported Jews for Justice for Palestinians because they’re clearly antisemites too. Right?

    And what news network, “liberal” or otherwise, has been ignoring the trouble in the middle east? As for American networks and their record of reporting on deaths, it looks like you have things backwards. Or does math have a liberal bias?

    I’m not sure what you were trying to prove by saying Hamas isn’t a country. You realize this conflict has been going on far longer than Hamas has been around? Hamas was only founded in 1987 and was initially funded by Mossad and Shin Bet.

    No one here is confusing Hamas for a troop of Girl Guides, but “fair and balanced” means objectively telling the truth, not falsely presenting both sides so they appear to be equally at fault.

    So go crawl back under your rock, troll.

  • sam

    [quote]Let’s face it. The liberals of the world don’t care about killing jews any more than hitler did.[/quote]

    When you are occupying land that isn’t yours, you got to pay to play.

  • You have to ask: why doesn’t Egypt just open their border with Gaza, and support the people there? Because Gaza’s existence in its precarious state is a useful political weapon to beat Israel with. It’s all about the land, not the people. Gaza must not be surrendered to Israel, not even in any political settlement that allows the people to remain.

    This piece makes that point in a roundabout way: the Arab leaders are disconnected from the people, thinking about political advantage at every step. They aren’t thinking about the people of Gaza – they are useful as a human shield, but that’s about it. Arab politicians don’t blink at hundreds or thousands of casualties: plenty more where they came from. Yet the media still bangs on about the casualties, and damage, as if that’s going to change anything. This is “holy land”, and that trumps all human considerations.

  • The region shows that theocracies are not good systems of government.

  • Aj

    Religious fanatics aren’t the source of all conflict in Palestine but they do prevent the possibility of peace. The situation is broken, but religious fanatics firing rockets and building settlements aren’t helping. Both sides have stopped seeing the other as people.

  • Israel isn’t on anyone’s land. Demographics change everywhere for numerous reasons. Israel exists, and they are legit, as any country on this planet.
    The idiotic Palestinians have the mindset of upset whiny 8 year olds, except they have the danger of a deranged adult when it comes to harm they can do.
    They have no cause because their cause has to do with wiping out an existing Westernized state.

  • Atheist Jew,

    Dismissing ongoing land right issues by saying “demographics change” and dismissing 320+ civilian deaths as “whiny 8-year-olds” is precisely the kind of attitude that, combined with a good dose of religious brainwashing, leads a disgruntled youth with no hope for the future to just strap a bomb to himself and go take out a couple dozen innocents at a mall.

    What good is being an “Atheist Jew” if cultural bias is going to make you as blinded as religious fervor could?

  • Alan

    Imagine, if you will, a terrorist group in a zone within Mexico. The citizen of that area have elected a government bent on destroying the United States. For six months, a truce ensues between this group and the US. Then, the group begins to lob missiles into Texas on a daily basis. Not many Americans are actually killed or injured, but normal life for these Texans simply ends, as they live in fear and constantly are having to interrupt life to go into shelters.

    The US government repeatedly warns that continued shelling will result in a harsh response. The rockets continue to be launched into Texas.

    Finally, the US gives us on talking and retaliates BIG TIME, to protect its citizens and ensure that the group who is behind these attacks is weakened, if not obliterated.

    If this was really happening, and the US was experiencing missiles from Mexico or Canada or Cuba being launched into its territory, how long would anyone expect the US to sit back and “turn the other cheek?” And why should Israel expected to do otherwise?

    Israel is a legitimate nation created by a legitimate vote of the United Nations. The first step in resolving this crisis long-term is for every one of Israel’s neighbors to admit that Israel is here to stay; it is not going away, and it will not fold if attacked. If they could only accept Israel’s right to exist, I have no doubt that within a few years, Israel would feel safe and secure enough to withdraw back to its original borders.

    But the first step has to come from its neighbors. And you will note that most of them, fearing that groups like Hamas could rise within their own borders, are being unusually quiet about the attacks on Gaza this time around.

  • If there was no such thing as religion, would this fighting still exist?

  • writerdd,

    I think the answer, sadly, would be “yes”. Megalomania needs no religion. There will always be politico-military “messiahs”, and there will always be masses ready to follow them into (figurative) hell.

  • GullWatcher

    @ Atheist Jew

    Israel isn’t on anyone’s land. Demographics change everywhere for numerous reasons

    Excuse me? Doesn’t this whole mess exist because Jews bitched, moaned, whined and complained for a couple thousand years or so about losing their homeland, until someone gave it back to them? Some of the Palestinians who were kicked out and had their land stolen are still alive. That’s a far more legitimate claim than the Jews now living there have.

  • Aj

    If another family moved into your family’s house, I wonder what you would do. Would you fight them? After they had won and pushed your family into the attic and basement, I wonder whether you’d be as happy with that as with the land rights of others.

    Are all the Palestinians getting killed guilty of firing rockets, supporting Hamas? I don’t think so, but these people are treated like Jews would be by Israel. They’re treating as sub-human, they’re not factored into the equation.

    No other state is given the “right to exist”, that right is not a normal right. Israel is expanding its settlements in the West Bank to this day. Israel has never been within the borders of the 1947 UN resolution, and it’s never going to be.


    If there was no such thing as religion, would this fighting still exist?

    Would Israel have been created in Palestine?
    Would there be claims to land, settlements in Gaza (forcibly removed) and the West Bank?
    Would there be support for Hamas from Iran and Hezbollah?
    Would Rabin have been killed?

    How much does religion influence recruitment to terrorist groups?
    Is religious text affectively used to justify violence?
    Do people claim rights to the land from God?

  • aventine09

    I should be suggested that the person who posted the video go and read a few books on the issue rather than relying on the US media.

  • Tao Jones

    Alan said:

    Imagine, if you will, a terrorist group in a zone within Mexico. The citizen of that area have elected a government bent on destroying the United States.

    Really bad analogy. Here, I’ll fix it for you.

    After centuries of persecution, atheists were recently the target of attempted genocide in some militant country in the Middle East. A group of militant atheists decide they want to form their own country so they could have their own homeland where they can escape persecution. They unilaterally declare independence and claim the land from Boston, MA to New York. The next day, Americans invade to protect their interest. The atheists receive aid from Russia and China including vast sums of money and some very high tech equipment. The atheists fend off the American “invaders” and push deeper west and south to create a buffer zone for protection should the Americans decide to attack again. Atheists went as far as Maryland and even declared Washington, DC the capital city of Atheistland even though the UN explicitly forbade them from doing so numerous times. Atheists claim, of course, that Jefferson was an atheist so they have a rightful and historic claim to the city as their capital. For the next 50 years, atheists and Americans have fought a few more wars with the atheists prevailing each time due to massive support from Russia and China. Naturally, Americans are furious over the Russian and Chinese support and they are eventually also seen as the enemy as well. Each war, the Atheistlanders took more and more land and despite the UN’s objections, have continued to build illegal settlements in occupied territories.

    The atheists systematically removed Americans and other non-atheists from their houses and deported them into bordering states or sending them to live in ghettos. In the many negotiations that have taken place, the Atheistland government has always objected to the idea of reparations for those removed from their homes or their right to return.

    In addition to the handful of declared wars, a number of militias have formed with the goal of restoring the land to Americans. Some of these militias are more militant than others. Some take up arms against their occupiers. They feel they are justified because they are merely defending their land. Compared to the Atheistland military, these militias are poorly equipped and funded so they resort to tactics of asynchronous warfare. Atheistlanders (and the Russians and Chinese) call these militias terrorist while Americans call them patriots.

    Over in Russia and China, the governments are very supportive of the Atheistland government. However the people are increasingly becoming disillusioned as the Internet is being used to get alternative viewpoints out of America and Atheistland. Anyone who speaks out against the actions of the government of Atheistland are typically labelled Anti-atheists which is about the worst thing you can call someone. People can’t seem to see the difference between being anti atheism and being against the actions of the state of Atheistland.

  • MAZZ

    Excellent analogy Tao. I’ve just recently decided to look further into the conflict between Israel and their neighbors (including the history of Israel). To the people who, like me, have mostly just gone on whats been said on the TV I’d suggest starting at the Israel Wikipedia page and going from there. Very informative.

  • todd m

    I agree the land isn’t the jewish. But understand this….. either you live in peace or fight it out. I quote the godfather “If history has taught us anything, its that you can kill anyone”. these two have fought for so long there’s no such thing as a truce, no such thing as a permanent cease-fire, no such thing as peace, no such thing as harmony. What my point is, is that you can not have a cease fire and say “oh, lets talk it out” the same thing will keep happening. If you fire a rocket in my community on the most religious holiday I cherish around my children, I’m going to kill you. If you take my land, I’m going to kill you. Don’t you see……. nobody is right here. If you say someone is right you are ignorant. This never stops, and it’s not over until everyone is dead. Thats the cold hard facts whether you’re a liberal, a conservative, a Jew, or a Muslim.

  • Athesit4Israel

    Key things people keep missing is that Israel was a Jewish land conquered by various other religions. Islam only was interested in Jerusalem because in Muhammads day he knew it was an important city to Jews and pretended Allah magically flew him to Jerusalem one night so he could meet with Jesus, Moses and other prophets. This was obviously due to seeing Jews and Christians as competition to his new cult and lay claim for Islams superiority.

    If we want to look at religions role how can you ignore the Christian and Islamic conquests of Israel?

    When people want to discuss Jewish demographics of Israel pre-1948 they convientley omit that Jews were massacred by Romans, Christians and Muslims at different points in Israel. You might as well look at the current population and land ownership of Native Americans and use to deny their ties to America.

    Out of the Abrahamic religions Judaism while as untrue as other religions. Is the only one that DIDN’T engage in colonialism, mass forced conversion, claims of innate personal superiority, oppression of other religions or designs on world-wide conquest. Funny how it is the one consistently accused of these types of things. If we examine I think the claims are mostly from religions that view Jews as competition in a giant religious gang-war for money, territory and numbers. One that Jews don’t even seem to want to be a part of. In all this I think Jews just want to be left alone by the nutcases all around them.

  • Just so, Atheist4Israel. Folks also ignore the fact that the Arab nations were unwilling to let Palestinian Jews have self-rule in the territory designated for them in UN 181. And that since 1948, Israel has absorbed most of native middle-eastern Jewry; about half of Jews in Israel are from the former Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Yemen, etc — not of European descent. Often they were forced out of their home countries and left with nothing (lots of these Jews also came to the US, though). Israel is more diverse religiously than nearly all of the nations that surround it — nearly 20% minority religions (mostly Muslims). Lebanon is the big exception, but it doesn’t look good for Christians there now, either.

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